Heaven and celestial dream pop are two concepts resonating with each other well. Usually known as the home of the London gay club scene, Heaven welcomed for the first time Anna of the North, or the "weird-ass white girl", as she calls herself.
Inside, after passing security, the crowd is dispersed around the large space. There’s an eclectic collection of songs playing in the background, ranging from rock to electronica to set the mood. Finally, Fabiana Palladino, the local support act, comes on with her sister. They don’t have much time, but it’s enough to generate some interest and drag everyone, including latecomers, closer to the stage. And then, after another long wait, the lights dim down again. It’s only after the Interlude, from her new album Dream Girl, played only by the drummer and guitarist, that Anna makes an appearance as she runs to her microphone to greet everyone.
Throughout the whole show, the overly animated crowd emits piercing high-pitched screams and reaches out for Anna’s hand, and eventually manages to grab an Argentinian flag that she happily waves around. It’s a well-rehearsed performance with a set-list mixing old, but mostly new tracks, of which the front row know all of the lyrics to. You can feel the prominent anchoring kick of the bass drum which makes the ground vibrate, but it is nicely balanced by the sweet voice of the singer, complimented by the dreamy reverb of the guitar and keys. A warm and supportive environment reigns, and there’s a clear romance between Anna and her fans as she sings love songs to them and continuously repeats that she loves them in response to their declarations.
I saw Anna onstage in 2016, back in her early days, when she was still emerging from her SoundCloud success and was far from the current well-mastered, more mainstream tracks she now produces. She’s come a long way, and is now less shy as she dances and jumps around in and out of the crowd, and seems to be overwhelmed by the thankful fans, who gather almost aggressively around her. But it’s understandable, she’s made it, perhaps accidentally with a song that gained overnight success, but she’s growing bigger day by day, going on tour extensively overseas. She doesn’t have time to interact with her fans on a deeper level. She does still try, but it drags on and it seems a little exhausting for her.
Now that Anna of the North, a sweet Norwegian girl living in Australia, has got the music industry’s attention, she can only respond to that with material that is becoming a little more generic. Nevertheless, the atmospherically dreamy pop sound she’s known for has yet to be lost and remains worth a listen, so go for it!
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Head Digital Editor